Bartering Day in Marden
A village in Kent has arranged a Barter Day for 5th September at the Vestry Hall in Marden, Kent.
This is a good idea, though I have heard of other bartering schemes that have disappeared because they didn't work, maybe because people didn't keep up their promises.
It could be a good opportunity for artists and other creative people too, particularly in the run up to Christmas.
Bartering is an age old method of exchanging skills, products and services between local people within a small community.
In essence, rather than paying a stranger to do a job for you (like paint your garden fence) you could find someone in you community who will do it in return for some other service.
In order to enable people to use their skills to obtain skills from people in a more indirect way (ie not a straight swap), individuals would use a Barter Point system. In other words one hour of your time and skill would give you (for example) 1 Barter Point. You could then use this Barter Point to get access to the skill of another person who may not necessarily want anything you have to offer, but who can use the Barter Point to get something from someone else.
How this can work in the real world:
Mrs Jones goes to Mrs Smith to get one hour of ironing done.
So Mrs Jones gives Mrs Smith one Barter Point.
Mrs Smith can use that Barter Point to get Mr Bloggs to repair her fence.
Mr Bloggs can spend the Barter Point he has just earned to get Mrs Jones to set up his home computer.... and so it continues.
The scheme also encompasses produce as well. Many people in Marden grow vegetables, make jam, bake cakes etc.
One Barter Point may, for example, be worth half a kilo of carrots or a Victoria sponge.
Bartering also enables people of all ages to contribute and therefore earn Barter Points (to spend with others). School aged children could do garden work (with their parent permission), retired people could utilise skills from their working life (architects, bookkeepers) and hobbies such as knitting, sewing and painting.
Here is an example list of the kinds of products, skills and services that people may be able to offer one another:
- General house repairs and decorating
- Accountancy and bookkeeping
- Website design
- clothing repair (very big one this)
- Help setting up a computer
- pet sitting & dog walking
- baby sitting (with references)
- house sitting
- car cleaning/valeting
- giving lifts
- lending equipment (eg Carper cleaners, jet wash)
- knitted items
- jams and preserves
- bread and cakes (Birthday Cakes!)
- used items
It may even make villages friendlier.